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Entrepreneur in Residence Workshop: Women Who Wobble Well

Hear Entrepreneur-In-Residence Mia Saini Duchnowski share some tips and tricks she’s learned from wobbling well. Wobbling well is crucial for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Over the years Mia has chatted with numerous women who seem to have it all figured out—successful careers, happy families, and fulfilling personal lives. But these women— entrepreneurs, working professionals, MBA students, and recent stay-at-home moms— have almost all, at some point, battled really tough issues: depression, divorce, professional setbacks, death of a loved one, sometimes simultaneously. As the ground beneath their feet shifted, they often felt like they could barely keep up. But while some of these women got sucked into impasse, others didn’t seem to miss a beat. It made Mia realize, when the ground buckled beneath them, there were women who wobbled, and there were women who wobbled well. In this panel discussion, she interviews 3 women leaders in the business world who wobble well.

Panelist Bios

Leslie Danford

Leslie Danford is a driven and passionate team and business leader combining her personal interests with her formal business training to launch what she hopes will become the first scale brand in children’s functional food and beverage: Vitaminis. Previously she served in strategic growth role and general management roles at Foxtrot, Softbank-backed OYO Hotels and global spirits company Beam Suntory. She began her career as a Management Consultant at Bain & Company and earned her MBA from Harvard University and BA from the University of Chicago, with honors. She is a mom to 4 children—three boys and one girl.

Shermin Kruse

Shermin Kruse is a global transactions expert, board member, lawyer, speaker, professor, TEDx producer, writer, and idea curator. She is also a TED and TEDx talk producer (having produced more than 60 different TEDx talks and various TEDx music videos), a TEDx speaker, and a negotiation and leadership consultant specializing in weaponizing empathy and stoicism. In addition to her teaching corporate and negotiations experience, Ms. Kruse was a partner at the law firm of Barack Ferrazzano where she represented international and Fortune 500 companies for 17 years.

Ms. Kruse is a frequent speaker on issues relating to tactical empathy, complex negotiation, stoicism, idea curation, change-agency, leadership, and professional development. She was recently named as the annual Woman Extraordinaire by the International Women Associates, featured by WomanScape Magazine for her global humanitarian work, and named one of the nation’s top 100 “Women to Watch” by BizWomen Magazine, one of Chicago’s most influential women by Chicago Business Journal, and one of Chicago’s Women of Inspiration by Today’s Chicago Magazine.

Ms. Kruse’s educational alumni institutions include the University of Michigan Law School (J.D., cum laude), The University of Toronto (BSc, honors dual degree in Psychology and Philosophy), Northwestern University School of Professional Development (negotiation certification), and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs (Fellowship). She is a mom to four young children.

Ebba Gebisa

Ebba is Counsel in the Chicago office of Latham & Watkins LLP in the Restructuring & Special Situations group. She advises both company-side and creditor clients on complex restructurings and bankruptcies. She represents clients from a wide array of industries on matters such as chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, cross-border restructurings, out-of-court restructurings, and distressed mergers and acquisitions. In addition to her restructuring work, Ebba has an active pro bono practice and serves as the firm’s liaison to the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, through which she has represented numerous nonprofit organizations from across the city.

At Latham & Watkins, Ebba is a Global Leader for the firm’s Black Lawyers Group and is actively involved in the firm’s various diversity and inclusion and recruiting efforts. Ebba is also a Co-Chair of the Turnaround Management Association’s Network of Women’s Global Committee.

Ebba holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Real Estate & Urban Land Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School.

Ebba lives in Chicago with her husband, Euler Bropleh, and their daughter, Blaen, and son, Tabor.

While this panel will be focused on women who wobble well, all students are welcome to attend.

Questions? Makaia Smith at makaia.smith@chicagobooth.edu

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